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Going Solo

Contestants hoping to be selected to compete in season 10 of American Idol got another chance. In the third round of Hollywood Week, they each performed a solo piece with a live band, with the option of playing their own instruments or of going a capella. The judges used those performances to determine which contestants to cut.



Haley Reinhart had done OK in her first Hollywood Week audition but fumbled her group performance, forgetting the lyrics. In her solo performance, she did "God Bless the Child" and showed a lot of confidence, getting down and dirty with her voice. Afterward, judge Jennifer Lopez told her, "Good job." [Haley's performance]

Ashthon Jones, wearing a little red dress, did a heartfelt version of "And I am Telling You" from Dreamgirls, showing a real affinity for the song. [Ashthon's performance]

Thia Megia, once more wearing an oversized multicolored sweater, sang "What a Wonderful World." For someone as young as she is, at 15, she delivered a very mature, textured version of the song. [Thia's performance]

Others were not having such luck. Adrian Michael had to start over while performing "Wonderful World." Caleb Johnson also stopped the band, during his performance of "Living for the City," asking them, "Wait, is that in 'G'?" And Frances Coontz, 16, was painfully flat during her performance of "Hey Soul Sister."

Then it was time for Clint Jun Gamboa, who has become the villain of the competition, due to his cruel treatment of 15-year-old contestant Jacee Badeaux, tossing him out of his group at 2 in the morning. Clint did a torch song version of the Ray Charles classic"Georgia on My Mind." The judges loved it. [Clint's performance]

"Georgia on My Mind" was a popular choice. Kendra Chantelle did a bluesy take on the song, Sophia Shorai offered up some big vocals. [Kendra's performance, Sophia's performance]

In another face off of sorts, Carson Higgins, also known as "that guy" from the group "Four Non Blondes and That Guy," was doing the same song as Chris Medina, Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." They took different approaches, Chris going for an acoustic version with his guitar, while Carson did an amped up, crowd-pleasing version. While he doesn't have the best voice in the competition, Carson is a great performer. [Chris and Carson's performances]

A number of contestants took advantage of the opportunity to play their own instruments. Julie Zorrilla played the piano while singing "Love Song." Admittedly, though, her vocals were much better than her very basic hammering of the keys. [Julie's performance]

Caleb Hawley opted out of the live band and played solo guitar accompaniment for "Feel it All Over." [Caleb's performance]

Colton Dixon played keyboards along with his version of "What About Today," and was the opposite of Julie: stronger on the keys than he was on the vocals. As a pianist myself, I can tell you that it is harder than it looks to both play and sing. [Colton's performance]

Brett Loewenstern played guitar with his rendition of "The Story," but I thought he'd been stronger without it. Again, probably because of having to split his attention. [Brett's performance]

Robbie Rosen did better, with soaring vocals and competent (though not impressive) keyboards on "Gravity." [Robbie's performance]

Casey Abrams, fast becoming one of my favorites, showed them all how it was done, playing a stand-up bass (!) for his jazzy rendition of "Georgia on My Mind." It felt like he was actually giving a concert. He even inspired Steven Tyler to sing along. [Casey's performance]

Chelsee Oaks was not having a great day. Not only had her ex-boyfriend, Rob Bolin, been cut after the group round, but her roommate, Jacqueline Dunford, got very sick and had to go to the hospital and bow out. The emotions seemed to get the best of Chelsee, whose version of "Because of You" was uneven, with a bad key change. [Chelsee's performance]

Is it just me or has it crossed the line into creepy the way that Lauren Alaina has been trying to suck up to Steven Tyler? She's either the biggest Aerosmith fan in the world or she truly thinks that massaging his ego is the way to advance. At any rate, she launched into a big-voiced version of "Don't Want to Miss a Thing." [Lauren's performance]

Not featured until the group rounds, Jacob Lusk pulled out all the stops with his version of "God Bless the Child." He has quite the range. [Jacob's performance]

For his performance, John Wayne Schultz selected "Landslide," accompanying himself on guitar. His mother, listening in the audience, was his inspiration for this country-tinged version. J. Lo liked it enough to sing along. [John Wayne's performance]

Predictably emotional, Ashley Sullivan dedicated Michael Buble's "Everything" to her boyfriend, doing it a capella. Perhaps it didn't help that he was watching from the balcony. She messed up the words and had to start over and then basically fell apart on the stage. [Ashley's performance]

We got to hear just a taste of Stefano Langone's "Sir Duke," where he seemed to take charge of the stage. [Stefano's performance]

Likewise, we heard a snippet of the a capello performance by Jovany Barreto. [Jovany's performance]

And we got a little sample of Jacee Badeaux's "Time of My Life." J. Lo told him, "It's always my pleasure to listen to you." [Jacee's performance]

"Hope You Dance" ended up being a big challenge for Scott McCreery, who had sailed through up to this point by singing a favorite song. He forgot the lyrics. [Scott's performance]

Facing the same challenge, Tatynisa Wilson also fumbled the words for "Hope You Dance." [Tatynisa's performance]

Now that the solo performances were over, the judges deliberated. Contestants were split up into four rooms for the delivery of the results.

In room one were Ashley Sullivan, Bret Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, Clint Gamboa, Caleb Hawley, Robbie Rosen, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, Casey Abrams, Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Chris Medina and Jacob Lusk. Looking at that selection (apart from Ashley, who fell apart during her solo), I could have predicted the results. J. Lo strung them along, saying, "This is the hard part." Randy Jackson told them there had been "a lot of up and down performances." J. Lo finished: "It is my job to tell you that everyone in this room is going on to the next round." [Room One results]

In room two were Brielle Von Hugel and Corey Lavoy. Steven delivered the bad news: "I'm sorry to say you didn't make it." Randy tried to make them feel better: "We've all auditioned for so many things. Keep fighting for it, whatever it takes. Get back with the training." J. Lo gave hugs to the weeping contestants. [Room Two results]

Room three contained Mark Gutierrez and Chelsee Oaks. J. Lo started, "Each one of you is very, very special." Steven told them, "There were moments when every one of you gave us goosebumps." Still, they were all cut. [Room Three results]

Finally, room four contained Colton Dixon, Naima Adedapo, Carson Higgins, Jovana Bareto, Scott McCreery and Rachel Zevita. Steven told them, "For every disappointment, we felt it, too. That's why it's so hard to say -- I can't say it, Jennifer." J. Lo announced, "Everyone is moving on." [Room Four results]

All 60 contestants who made the cut celebrated in the hallways. Then the judges informed them of a new challenge. Next week, the contestants will go to Las Vegas and take on the Beatles. They will only have 24 hours to learn their songs. Cuts will be made afterward to get down to the top 24.

Next stop: Las Vegas!

Moral:
When the pressure's on, you've got to measure up.


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Tags: american idol, music, television
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